A recent exhibition by the prize-winning children’s book illustrator Sahar Abdallah was her second in Canada inspired by the works of modern Arab poets, in this case the late Egyptian poet Fouad Haddad.
The exhibition, which ran from September 2 to 9 at the Akin art collective’s Remote Gallery, in Toronto, had the same title as Haddad’s poem “Like a Lizard.” A previous show in the same city in 2018 was inspired by the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish.
“The poem speaks of a rebellion; a girl who glorifies her freedom in a hymn, and identifies herself with an undulating lizard,” Sahar Abdallah told Al-Fanar Media.
“It is known that a lizard under attack may willingly shed its tail to preserve its freedom,” she added. “Thus, freedom has become its symbol.”
The lightness of Abdallah’s drawings recalls the easy vernacular of Fouad Haddad, popularly known in Egypt as “the father of poetry.”
Born in Cairo in 1927, Haddad was the son of a Syrian mother and a Lebanese academic father who became an Egyptian citizen. A member of the Egyptian Communist Party, Haddad was twice jailed, from 1953 to 1956 and from 1959 to 64. He died in 1985, aged only 57.